SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  22.9-28.9.07, No. 184  
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Table of contents

Avian flu

Beijing Olympics

North Korea - Six-Party Talks

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Foreign Policy

China, Switzerland vow to boost ties (People's Daily)
2007-09-26
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here Tuesday that China stands ready to push relations with Switzerland to a new high by boosting political mutual trust, expanding cooperation, and strengthening consultation and collaboration in multilateral fields. Switzerland's recognition earlier this year of China's status as a full market economy has created good conditions for stronger bilateral economic and trade ties, Yang said at a meeting with Micheline Calmy-Rey, president of the Swiss Confederation. Calmy-Rey, who also serves as the foreign minister, said her country is determined to enhance dialogue with China and step up economic and trade cooperation and communication and coordination in international affairs. The two also discussed other topics such as the Iranian nuclear issue. At the start of their meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the two signed a memorandum on strengthening bilateral dialogue and cooperation. ^ top ^

Fukuda planning visit to Beijing - New Japanese prime minister's trip will be part of a move to build stronger ties (SCMP)
2007-09-26
New Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is planning to make his first state visit to Beijing in November as part of a drive to take ties with China to a new level. His visit is expected to be followed by a trip to Tokyo by President Hu Jintao in February, according to Japanese government sources. The Chinese side had yet to formally confirm the acceptance of an invitation to Mr Hu, but officials on both sides were actively planning for a trip early next year, sources said. […]. ^ top ^

Merkel rebuked over 'damaging' meeting with Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2007-09-26
Beijing chided German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday for hosting Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, demanding Berlin take action to repair damage done to bilateral ties. […] Beijing summoned the German ambassador in Beijing to protest and to urge Dr Merkel to change her mind before the Berlin meeting. Beijing also cancelled separate talks with German officials that were due to take place in Munich on Sunday for "technical reasons". (…). ^ top ^

China condemns Honduran president for "Taiwan independence" remarks (Xinhua)
2007-09-26
China opposes and condemns the claim by the President of Honduras that "Taiwan is an independent sovereign state", said a Chinese mainland official here on Wednesday. "The remark was a violation against the one-China principle upheld by the international community and the resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly," a spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said. ^ top ^

China urges restraint from all parties in Myanmar (Xinhua)
2007-09-27
China on Thursday asked relevant parties in Myanmar to show restraint and properly handle the current situation. "As a neighbor, China is greatly concerned about the situation in Myanmar, and we hope that all parties in Myanmar show restraint and properly handle the current situation," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference. Jiang called on parties concerned in Myanmar to prevent the situation from becoming more complicated and spreading, and not to affect the peace and stability in Myanmar and the surrounding region. China expects Myanmar could commit itself to improving the living condition of people, safeguarding the rapprochement among different ethnic groups so to resume peace and stability as soon as possible, said Jiang. Jiang also refuted reports that China has not exerted full influence on the issue. (…). ^ top ^

Political consultations mechanism between Chinese, African FMs launched (China Daily)
2007-09-27
The mechanism of political consultations between Chinese and African foreign ministers was launched (…) Wednesday. The inauguration was chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the foreign minister of Egypt, which will host the upcoming Fourth Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2009. (…) Foreign ministers and representatives from 48 African countries attended Wednesday's event, which was held on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. (…) A joint communique was issued at the end of the consultations, saying the two sides would further promote the new type of strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation in such fields as infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, information technology, and tourism. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese, U.S. top diplomats meet on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2007-09-24
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice met here Sunday on the sidelines of the 62nd session of United Nations General Assembly. (…) Yang, who is attending the UN General Assembly session for the first time since assuming the post of foreign minister, suggested that Beijing and Washington implement the important consensus reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush on developing bilateral ties mainly from four aspects. First, Yang said, the two sides should stick to proceeding from a strategic height and assuming a comprehensive and forward-looking perspective to advance bilateral ties along a correct path of constructive cooperation, and avoid being swayed by narrow and short-term interests. Second, the two sides should strengthen dialogue and consultation and manage relevant mechanisms in a comprehensive way,and consolidate mutual strategic trust through the Strategic Economic Dialogue and the Strategic Dialogue. Thirdly, both sides should deepen and widen common interest, strengthen cooperation in such fields as economics and trade and the fight against terrorism, explore cooperation in newer areas like energy and climate change, and deepen consultation and coordination in major international and regional issues. Fourthly, Yang said, both sides should respect each other and heed each other's concerns, properly handle their differences, refrain from doing things that harm the other side's core interests, so as to ensure a sound and stable development of bilateral relations. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese, French FMs discuss relations (Xinhua)
2007-09-24
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, met Sunday on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly and discussed how to better bilateral cooperation. Sino-French cooperation has witnessed sound and steady development in various fields, Yang said, noting that the two sides have made important contribution to helping solve relevant questions by maintaining good communication and coordination in major international and regional issues. (…) Kouchner said French leaders are looking forward to visiting China to promote bilateral ties. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese, Indian FMs discuss deepening ties (China Daily)
2007-09-24
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, met here Sunday to discuss deepening relations between the two Asian neighbors. (…) Developing a strategic partnership of cooperation with India is an established long-term goal of the Chinese government, Yang said, adding that the two sides should view and handle bilateral relations from a strategic height and a long-term perspective so as to contribute to world peace and development. Yang expressed the hope that the two countries would maintain high-level exchanges, conduct strategic, defense and security dialogues, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, properly handle border and other issues, strengthen coordination in United Nations affairs and other major international matters, and constantly advance bilateral relations. (…). ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Ex-ambassador Wang Yi named vice-minister (SCMP)
2007-09-28
China's former ambassador to Japan, Wang Yi, was formally appointed a vice-foreign minister yesterday in the latest reshuffle of government positions in the run-up to the Communist Party's 17th National Party Congress next month. Political analysts suggested that the recent appointments of a number of vice-ministers - who are expected to take over their respective ministries eventually - were part of the usual arrangements ahead of the crucial party congress, when a reshuffle of the nation's key leadership is expected. […]. ^ top ^

Study incentives for key sectors (SCMP)
2007-09-28
Beijing has introduced a series of incentives to meet the need for skills in key sectors such as agriculture, energy and animation. A circular issued by six ministries and commissions, including education, finance and personnel, has ordered their respective subordinate offices to give priority to training people in agriculture, fisheries, geology, coal mining and animation. […]. ^ top ^

Article on 'emancipation of the mind' may signal policy shift (SCMP)
2007-09-26
An influential official publication has called on party members to liberate their thinking in the "thorny area" of political reform ahead of next month's party congress. Analysts say the numerous references to "emancipation of the mind" in Xinhua's latest Outlook magazine indicate the ideological obstacles the party reformists face in their push for political reform to match economic reforms. […] Analysts say the slogan "the emancipation of the mind" carries specific historical connotations and could spell potential policy changes. The phrase was coined by Deng Xiaoping in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, when he led the Communist Party to jettison such Maoist ideas as class struggle and to focus on raising living standards. As a result, the party discarded the command economy and embarked on the road to a market economy, transforming the country from an economic backwater into the world's fourth biggest economy. […]The party has always said democracy is a long-term goal, but maintains it can be achieved under one-party rule. President Hu Jintao , in a key speech at the Central Party School in June, also stressed the importance of liberating the mind, but said political reforms must "adhere to a correct political direction". ^ top ^

China increases postgraduate quotas for ethnic minorities (People's Daily)
2007-09-28
China's Ministry of Education has raised the ethnic minorities quota for postgraduate places from 3,700 this year to 4,200 in 2008, said the Ministry of Education Thursday in Beijing. The quotas comprises 3,400 master's degree places and 800 doctoral places, the ministry said in a press release. The government started the special postgraduate program for ethnic minorities in 2006 when 2,500 people were enrolled. Young people from ethnic minorities with a bachelor's degree, will take a standard national exam, but enjoy a different enrollment policy with a relatively lower mark, according to the ministry's circular. (…). ^ top ^

China to intensify implementation of court rulings (People's Daily)
2007-09-26
The people who resist the implementation of court rulings with violence would be detained by courts or investigated by the public security departments if the behaviors are severe, according to a newly released circular. The circular, co-issued by the Supreme People's Court (SPC), the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), and the Ministry of Public Security, required to intensify the implementation of court rulings to ensure the legal rights of the people involved. The behaviors of organizing people to besiege, seize or attack law enforcement people, snatch or destroy legal documents, law enforcement vehicles and other facilities, and other behaviors of using violence or threats against law enforcement people, would be considered as resisting the implementation with violence, said the circular. (…). ^ top ^

China bans sexually suggestive ads on radio, TV (People's Daily)
2007-09-26
China's broadcasting watchdog has banned all sexually suggestive advertising on radio and television. Commercials featuring sexually suggestive language or behavior or featuring scantly dressed women were "detrimental to society," the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a circular on Tuesday. (…) "Sexually suggestive ads and bad ads not only mislead consumers seriously and harm public health, but are socially corrupting and morally depraving, and directly discredit the radio and TV industry," the circular said. In July this year, the SARFT released a notice to stop ads with inappropriate content or sex implications from appearing on TV screens. A total of 1,466 ads involving two billion yuan (267 million U.S. dollars) have been removed since August, statistics from the SARFT showed. (…). ^ top ^

Rights couple nominated for top award (SCMP)
2007-09-26
Leading Beijing-based Aids activist Hu Jia and his wife have been named as one of the three finalists for the 2007 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, a prestigious human rights award made by the European Parliament to an individual or organisation. The nomination for the prize was made at a joint meeting of the parliament's foreign affairs and development committees in Strasbourg, France. […] While refraining from speculating on their chances of winning, Mr Hu said they would "definitely be unable" to fly to Strasbourg to receive the award should they win it. He said they had both been banned from leaving China since being barred from flying to Europe for a holiday and being put under house arrest on "suspicion of endangering national security" in May. […]. ^ top ^

China's cabinet slashes administrative procedures (Xinhua)
2007-09-26
China's State Council on Wednesday decided to scrap 128 administrative procedures for examination and approval and amend 58 in order to cut government red tape. The decision was made during an executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. "The elimination and adjustment of the 186 administrative procedures is conducive to smoothing relations between the government and markets, government and enterprises, government and society and government and the public," said a circular from the State Council, or cabinet. Since October 2001, the State Council has pushed a comprehensive reform of administrative procedures for examination and approval, and scrapped 1,806 items subject to examination and approval, said the circular. The circular gave no details of the procedures that had been amended or scrapped. (…). ^ top ^

China warns of environmental "catastrophe" from Three Gorges Dam (People's Daily)
2007-09-26
Chinese officials and experts have admitted the Three Gorges Dam project has caused an array of ecological ills, including more frequent landslides and pollution, and if preventive measures are not taken, there could be an environmental "catastrophe". (…) All the participants in a two-day forum held in Wuhan on Tuesday agreed that the project had exerted a "notably adverse" impact on the environment of the Three Gorges reservoir (…). They said the huge weight of the water behind the Three Gorges Dam had started to erode the Yangtze's banks in many places, which, together with frequent fluctuations in water levels, had triggered a series of landslides. (…). ^ top ^

China among top scientific powerhouses (China Daily)
2007-09-27
The country's expertise in science and technology has grown significantly in recent years, a report from the Ministry of Science and Technology has said. And with 35 million people employed in various scientific and technological fields, China ranks first in the world in terms of personnel, the Report on Science and Technology Strength of China, said. In addition, last year, China had 1.4 million people specifically engaged in scientific research and development, putting it second only to the United States, the report said. (…) Spending on scientific R&D topped 450 billion yuan ($58 billion) last year, the fifth highest in the world. The figure amounted to 1.42 percent of GDP for the year, the report said. In terms of the number of papers published in the Science Citation Index, Chinese scientists last year ranked fifth in the world, behind the US, the UK, Germany and Japan. In 1991, they ranked 15th, the report said. (…). ^ top ^

HK improves, mainland slips back in global war on corruption (SCMP)
2007-09-27
Hong Kong has been ranked 14th on a global list of least corrupt places in the world, one place better than last year and its highest position since the handover. The mainland was ranked 72nd in Berlin-based Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index covering 180 countries, compared to 70th last year. […]. ^ top ^

140,000 Chinese officials voluntarily turn bribes over to higher authorities (Xinhua)
2007-09-22
A total of 140,660 Chinese officials have voluntarily turned bribes they have accepted over to higher authorities in past five years, China's disciplinary watchdog said here Saturday. The bribes, including cash, marketable securities and pay orders, were valued at about 676 million yuan (89.18 million U.S. dollars), according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China. During the same period, 6,828 officials have been punished for taking cash, marketable securities, pay orders, gift moneys by violating government anti-corruption regulations, while 16,411 officials have been punished for gambling, sources with CCDI said. (…). ^ top ^

China drafting law on social insurance (Xinhua)
2007-09-22
China's Labour and Social Security Minister Tian Chengping urged the country to accelerate legislation over social insurance on Saturday. Addressing a national social security forum in Beijing, he said the country's social security work still lacks laws or high-level laws to go by. Gao Fengtao, deputy director of the legislative office of the State Council, said at the forum that the social insurance law is being drafted and will be submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberation as soon as possible. (…). ^ top ^

New coffee shop replacing Starbucks in Forbidden City (China Daily)
2007-09-24
A new coffee shop opened last week inside the Palace Museum, located exactly at the same place where a controversial Starbucks coffee shop had situated for seven years. With wooden tables, wooden chairs and pictures featuring Chinese culture, the "Forbidden City Cafe" serves not only coffee, but also traditional Chinese beverage such as tea. "Different from the Starbucks coffee shop, the Palace Museum is the managerial authority of the cafe," Beijing Daily quoted Li Wenru, deputy curator of the Forbidden City, as saying. (…) In 2000, the Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. opened its outlet in the Palace Museum, the former imperial palace, at the heart of Beijing. The outlet, however, closed its door in July this year after facing years of opposition as some Chinese think the American coffee shop poses a challenge to traditional Chinese culture. ^ top ^

Author of virus gets 4 years' jail (People's Daily)
2007-09-25
Li Jun, author of the "panda" virus that was used to infect computers across the country, was yesterday sentenced to four years in prison by the People's Court in Xiantao, Hubei Province. Three accomplices of the 25-year-old man, all aged in their twenties, were given sentences of between one and two-and-a-half years. (…) The case is also the first in the country involving the use of a virus for financial gain. (…). ^ top ^

Lunar base to follow exploratory missions (SCMP)
2007-09-27
China plans to set up a lunar base after 2020, capping a series of preparatory robotic missions and a human landing on the moon, Ji Wu, the director of China's Centre for Space Science and Applied Research, said in Hyderabad, India, yesterday. (…). ^ top ^

Thirsty capital wrings water from neighbours (SCMP)
2007-09-25
The central government is negotiating with Shanxi and Hebei to divert water to Beijing as the capital faces a water shortage that might threaten next year's Olympic Games. Though the central government had promised it would be the last sacrifice the provinces would be asked to make before the Olympics, officials in Shanxi and Hebei said they feared local farmers would be badly hurt and might not receive compensation. A report by the Shanxi Evening News said the provinces - which have already faced a summer drought - had been asked to channel 45 million cubic metres of water to Beijing by the end of next month. […] Ministry of Water Resources spokesman Gu Hao confirmed talks were under way but insisted that the water shortage in Beijing would not affect the Olympic Games. […]. ^ top ^

Self-developed 'bullet' train to debut by year end (China Daily)
2007-09-24
China's first self-designed and self-manufactured passenger train with a designed speed of 300 km per hour, equal to that of the famous Japanese bullet train, will roll off the production line by the end of this year, the manufacturer has announced. The new high-speed trains, which can seat around 600 passengers, will run on the 115-km-long Beijing-Tianjin rail route before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in August. The rail journey between the two cities will be reduced from the current 70 minutes to around 30 minutes. (…). ^ top ^

All villages to get cultural centres (SCMP)
2007-09-28
The mainland plans to spend close to 4 billion yuan over the next three years to ensure that all villages have a cultural centre where residents can learn, play and be entertained, state media said. The funds will be used to construct or expand 26,700 rural cultural centres, Xinhua quoted State Councillor Chen Zhili as saying yesterday. […]Concerned about social stability, Beijing has been raising spending on the countryside in an effort to narrow the growing gap between the rural poor and increasingly wealthy residents of urban coastal areas. Rural co-operative medical insurance has been expanded and school fees for most rural children have been abolished. Beijing is also trying to improve financial services in the countryside, to give farmers a better chance of getting ahead. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing police target black men in 'brutal' anti-drug operation (SCMP)
2007-09-24
Dozens of black tourists and expatriates, including the son of the Grenadian ambassador, were arrested and some badly beaten during an apparently indiscriminate anti-drug operation by Beijing police. About 30 men, mostly African or Caribbean, were detained as dozens of baton-wielding security guards and uniformed police swept through Beijing's nightlife district, Sanlitun. […] Witnesses said the round-up appeared to be aimed squarely at black men. […] When asked about the incident, a police officer at the Sanlitun station said: "This is an anti-drug operation.". ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai to release social security fund details to public (People's Daily)
2007-09-27
The Shanghai authorities have pledged to make details about the city's social security fund easily accessible to the public in the wake of the huge pension fund scandal that brought about the downfall of Chen Liangyu, the city's party boss. (…) According to Bao, the fund has been placed under the strict supervision of a specialized fiscal account and the Shanghai Social Security Supervisory Committee will also oversee levies, management, operation and expenditure. In the past, the fund was managed through a single income account. Local social security authorities made decisions about revenue, withdrawal and payment of funds, which made it relatively easy for corrupt administrators to embezzle money. (…). ^ top ^

Six jailed in Shanghai pension graft scandal - Former fund chief gets 18 years in prison (SCMP)
2007-09-24
The mainland's biggest corruption case in more than a decade moved a step closer to its conclusion yesterday, with six men sentenced in a multibillion-yuan Shanghai pension fund case - just weeks before the 17th Communist Party Congress opens. […] Ren Jianming, deputy director of Tsinghua University's Clean Governance Centre, said there was a good chance that the case would be closed before the congress opened to underscore the party leadership's determination to curb corruption within its ranks. "Past experience showed that lenient punishment for corrupt party officials is losing the deterrent effect among other officials," Mr Ren said. "The public will want to know what punishment senior party officials will face when they are found guilty of committing serious crimes. […] But Pu Xingzu, political science professor at Fudan University, said the sentencing would make no big difference as far as the party congress was concerned because the battle had already been won by President Hu Jintao. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Inflation estimate rises on dearer food, weak dollar - Currency movements and higher prices over border hit HK pockets (SCMP)
2007-09-25
The government is raising its full-year inflation forecast for Hong Kong from 1.5 per cent to as high as 2 per cent, reflecting growing concern over the effects of higher food prices, the strengthening yuan, and US dollar weakness. […]The move had been anticipated, since inflation has been artificially depressed by government rate rebates and other concessions for two quarters this year. The measures expire this month and many economists expect inflation to reach about 3 per cent by the end of the year. […]. ^ top ^

Pan-democrat camp to field its biggest lineup - Allies to contest 70pc of district council seats (SCMP)
2007-09-24
The pan-democratic camp will field at least 289 candidates and contest 70 per cent of the seats in November's district council polls. Announcing their biggest ever lineup in the lower-tier election, the allies hailed their success in reducing the number of seats in which party members will compete against each other - from 30-plus seats to just seven - after negotiations over the past 18 months. […] The 289 candidates comprise 28 independents and 261 hopefuls from 10 allied groups. […]. ^ top ^

Social workers threaten strike over pay demands (SCMP)
2007-09-26
The social workers' union has threatened to call a strike if the government refuses to increase funding to non-governmental organisations for staff pay rises. (…) Social Workers' General Union president Peter Cheung Kwok-che made the proposal at yesterday's Lump-Sum Grant Steering Committee meeting to request the government cover all NGO staff salaries, and give a lump sum to cover other expenses. […] Early this month 5,000 social workers and welfare officers took half a day's leave and marched in Central to protest against the lump-sum grant system, which they said had cut funding for welfare groups and reduced pay. […]. ^ top ^

HK restaurants hard hit by smoking ban (China Daily)
2007-09-26
The smoking ban introduced on January 1 has resulted in reduced profits and fewer customers for 40 percent of restaurants here, a survey has revealed. Commissioned by the Hong Kong Catering Industry Association (HKCIA) and conducted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the survey spoke to the owners and managers of 560 restaurants, cafes and related establishments, in which there is now a total ban on smoking. (…) The same percentage said they had had fewer customers. Establishments offering a combination of catering and karaoke were the worst hit, the survey found. Of those, 75 percent said they had witnessed a decline in sales revenue, while 100 percent said they had had fewer customers. (…). ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

New Taiwan strategy expected to include worst-case scenario (SCMP)
2007-09-27
The central leadership will draw up a new Taiwan strategy at the Communist Party's 17th National Congress next month, with experts saying they expect Beijing will prepare for a worst-case scenario. Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi said yesterday that Taiwan would be among the key issues discussed at the party congress, and a new strategy would be formed. He did not elaborate.[…] Beijing-based Renmin University professor Shi Yinhong said he believed the leadership would take the opportunity to form a consensus on how to handle the challenges, including the push by Mr Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party to gain full UN membership for the island and their plan to hold a referendum on the issue. […] He said hard power meant mainland leaders would take military action against Taiwan if the situation in the Taiwan Strait got out of control. He also said that if the central leadership had to resort to the military option, it would not just "launch a few missiles without warheads" over Taiwan - as former president Jiang Zemin did in 1996. "We must remember that the mainland now is totally different from Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin's eras. With more than two decades' economic development, our military power has reached a certain level." Liu Guoshen , the head of Xiamen University's Taiwan Research Institute, said the current situation was not as dangerous as some people in Beijing feared. "Actually, the chance of Taiwan becoming an independent nation is very slim because of the lack of support on the island. There are political disagreements between Beijing and Taiwan, and it takes time to solve them. We still need to promote more non-government exchanges.". ^ top ^

DPP chairman in last push on island's name (SCMP)
2007-09-26
The chairman of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, Yu Shyi-kun, has vowed to push through a resolution to end the island's use of the Republic of China title in what could be the last throw of the dice before he steps down as the DPP leader. Analysts say the move represents Yu's attempt to save his own political life after being charged with corruption. Yu was indicted by prosecutors on Friday for allegedly embezzling more than NT$2 million (HK$470,000) in special monthly allowances during his time as secretary general of the Presidential Office and premier between 2000 and 2005. […]. ^ top ^

James Soong declines Kuomintang offer (SCMP)
2007-09-28
Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang offered James Soong Chu-yu, the head of the People First Party, the post of honorary chairman to pave the way for the integration of the two parties, according to Taiwanese media reports. But Mr Soong declined, saying he no longer wanted to be involved in politics. The PFP's Fu Kun-chi confirmed yesterday that Mr Soong had been offered the post. KMT secretary general Wu Den-yih, however, said he had never heard of such an offer. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Mainland regains top IPO spot with US$30b in deals (SCMP)
2007-09-28
The mainland has recaptured the lead from the United States as its companies raised more through initial public offerings, according to Thomson Financial. Mainland companies raised more than US$30 billion from 132 deals, a 56.6 per cent increase in proceeds from a year ago. That compares with US$29.78 billion from 129 deals for US-based companies. […]. ^ top ^

Industrial firms post 37pc surge in profits - Mainland 'at the peak of corporate performance' (SCMP)
2007-09-28
Profits at mainland industrial companies surged 37 per cent to 1.56 trillion yuan in the first eight months, powered by the country's demand for minerals and other commodities to fuel its soaring economic growth. Turnover of industrial firms' core business jumped 27.4 per cent to 24.5 trillion yuan, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday on its website. Profits at state-owned industrial companies rose 31 per cent to 680.7 billion yuan while those at joint-stock companies rose 34.5 per cent to 839.6 billion yuan, it said. ^ top ^

Mainland to review brokerage venture bids by foreign banks (SCMP)
2007-09-26
The mainland was likely to resume reviewing applications by foreign investment banks to form joint ventures with local brokerages as soon as next month but would restrict their business scope, sources said. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) would probably vet applications after the party congress ended in the middle of next month, the sources said. However, the move would not trigger substantial changes to the securities industry because the CSRC was expected to limit the new ventures to primary-market activities, the sources said. […] Beijing promised to further open the securities industry during the second round of Sino-US strategic economic talks in May.[…]. ^ top ^

China's gasoline imports up almost 8,000 percent August (People's Daily)
2007-09-28
China's imports of gasoline hit a ten-year high in August after the country's economic planner ordered state-owned oil firms to make up shortfalls in supply. Imports reached 45,000 tons last month, up 7,896 percent from August last year. Meanwhile, exports shrank to 257,000 tons, down 18.3 percent from August last year and down from 330,000 tons in July and 526,000 tons in June. (…). ^ top ^

China's IPR action to be probed (People's Daily)
2007-09-27
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established an expert panel at the request of the United States to probe whether China has taken sufficient action to protect intellectual property rights (IPR). The panel was automatically set up on Tuesday at a meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, following a second request by the US. Washington's first request for such a panel last month was rejected by China according to the WTO rules. Lu Xiankun, a Chinese trade official, told the WTO's dispute settlement body China strongly opposes US attempts to impose regulations that go beyond what is required by the WTO, and that China would defend its interests. (…) "The United States recognizes that China has made the protection of intellectual property rights a priority and that China has taken active steps to improve protection and enforcement," Dan Hunter, a US trade official, told the WTO's dispute settlement body. But Beijing has not done enough, he said. (…) This is the fifth WTO IPR case the US has brought against China and the third time it has called for a WTO dispute settlement panel. Last September, Washington requested a panel to examine China's regulations on imposing local content requirements in the auto sector. In July 2007, it requested a panel regarding China's so-called "industrial subsidies". ^ top ^

China approves Nasdaq to open representative office in Beijing (People's Daily)
2007-09-28
Following the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, the other major U.S. stock exchange, was approved by China Securities Regulatory Commission to open a representative office in Beijing, the company announced in Beijing on Thursday. (…). ^ top ^

Edible oil auction to help ease holiday price hikes (China Daily)
2007-09-27
A total of 200,000 tons of edible oil reserves will be auctioned to curb price hikes during the week-long National Day holidays, officials have announced. The move is the latest effort by food and price watchdogs to rein in inflation, which is largely driven by soaring grain, pork and edible oil prices. (…) Edible oil prices rose about 30 percent. (…) But given the annual per capita edible oil consumption of 18 kg, experts said long-term incentives are needed to improve the bleak situation of soybean and rapeseed production, which has suffered constant declines due to low profit margins and competition from the global market. (…). ^ top ^

Mainland government 'building stake' in HK stock exchange (SCMP)
2007-09-27
The central government may be building a stake in Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing helping to fuel the rapid rise of the stock-market operator's share price, a British newspaper reported. The mainland's new foreign exchange reserve fund, which will manage US$200 billion, or the National Social Security Fund, which manages US$53 billion, could be buying shares, the Times of London said, citing sources close to the exchange. […]"Five or six years in the future, Shanghai and Hong Kong will have more co-operation a nd eventually there will be an opportunity to merge in some way or another. So if the central government has a stake, it will be much easier for them to effect change," said Tung Tai securities associate director Kenny Tang Sing-hing. ^ top ^

Shenhua Energy IPO attracts 2.7 trillion yuan (SCMP)
2007-09-27
China Shenhua Energy (SEHK: 1088, announcements, news) 's record-setting share sale on the A-share market is set to provide mainland investors another option to profit from the country's strong economic growth, alongside highly valued banks and developers. […]In the largest public offering on the mainland, Hong Kong-traded Shenhua Energy raised 66.58 billion yuan by floating 1.8 billion shares, which also beat Construction Bank's record-setting 58 billion yuan. […]. ^ top ^

State holdings distort true value of companies - ICBC may be overvalued by as much as US$120b, says CLSA (SCMP)
2007-09-27
Beijing's continued grip on shares in mainland blue-chip firms is preventing the stock exchanges from accurately valuing the companies, creating a misleading impression of the country's corporate strength. The overpricing of A shares, many of which trade at more than 50 times earnings, has exaggerated the true value of "world-beating" companies such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Air China, according to a report released yesterday by brokerage CLSA. […] The trigger for the current bull market after five years in the doldrums came two years ago when at Beijing's behest, non-tradable shares began being converted into regular equity. But the government's determination to retain majority stakes in companies it considered to be of national economic importance is now pumping stock market valuations to unrealistic levels. […]. ^ top ^

Mattel apologizes over toys recall (China Daily)
2007-09-21
Thomas Debrowski, an executive of Mattel, apologized Friday to a senior Chinese official for the inconvenience it has caused to Chinese consumers after recalling millions of China-made toys and pledged to take responsibility, according to a Xinhua witness. During his talk with Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Debrowski admitted that the vast majority of its recalled toys were of design flaws rather than the manufacturing errors of China. (…) "Mattel does not require Chinese manufacturers to be responsible for the magnets related recalls due to design problems," it said. (…). ^ top ^

No timetable for RMB convertibility: China's central banker (People's Daily)
2007-09-21
China is committed to pushing forward its currency reform but has no timetable for the full convertibility of renminbi, said Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, at a financial forum Friday. China is committed to reforming its financial sector step by step, the central bank chief said, adding that the Chinese government recognized that such reforms are helpful to the financial stability and the health of the Chinese economy. (…). ^ top ^

 

Avian flu

H5N1 outbreak was not from mutant virus, say authorities (SCMP)
2007-09-26
The bird flu virus that broke out in Guangdong about two weeks ago, killing thousands of ducks, was ordinary H5N1, not a mutated version, according to agriculture authorities. Test results proved the virus was not new and that vaccines were effective against it, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on its website on Monday night. […] A Guangzhou animal epidemic prevention expert told mainland media that sewage from nearby farms and migratory birds on hills around duck ponds could be the source of the virus. The anonymous expert said that after excluding several possible carriers, such as people and feed, the two possible sources were most worthy of study, the Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday. The Guangzhou Agriculture Bureau declined to comment on the report, but a provincial bird flu expert said the speculation was nonsense. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Torch relay won't pass through Chinese Taipei (China Daily)
2007-09-21
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has cancelled the plan of the Olympic torch relay passing through Chinese Taiepi, it was announced by a spokesman of the Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games (BOCOG) on Friday. The spokesman said that on Thursday, Tsai Chen-wei from Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee said in a letter to BOCOG that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee would not have further discussions with BOCOG on the issue of the Olympic torch relay passing through Chinese Taipei and thus closed the door of the discussion. (…) The spokesman said the responsibility for this entirely rests with the Taiwan authorities. (…). ^ top ^

 

North Korea

Nuke talks show signs of progress (People's Daily)
2007-09-28
The Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue are moving in the "correct" direction despite difficulties that have yet to be settled on the way forward, the chief Chinese delegate said yesterday. Thanks to joint efforts, "we are faced with a new season of harvest (for the six-nation talks)," Wu Dawei, who is also vice-foreign minister, said at the opening of the latest session of the multilateral talks in Beijing. "This meeting is an important one in the Six-Party Talks process. Its main task is to discuss and determine the action plan for the next stage, " he said. (…) The US is expected to unveil a detailed plan concerning the denuclearization process today, top US negotiator Christopher Hill said last night. "We will circulate a joint statement. The joint statement is going to specify that the disablement and declaration have to be done by the year-end," US Assistant Secretary of State Hill told reporters upon returning to his hotel after a plenary session of the talks. "It (the joint statement) will be more specific in terms of timing. Also it has to lay out how the fuel oil is provided, so it would be more detailed," Hill said (…) Diplomats have suggested that differences still need to be ironed out for the denuclearization process to make progress. Chun Yung-woo, the chief ROK delegate, said there were still some differences between what the DPRK was intending to do on disablement and what the other countries wanted done. (…). ^ top ^

 

Joel Baumgartner
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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